One thing is that Baltimore is a city with all these holes in it through which you can see the gears working or not working, and it moves before you, totally coggishly with this or that jamming or interlocking. When it coalesces it makes total sense, but always — especially for those a part of the transient population, like yours truly — feels un-encompassing, nothing like a blanket, not something you live inside of but around. And by that I mean, the buses and the streets and how my own particular rowhouse (there are many others like it, but this one is mine) has this shitty plastic false hardwood and gray brown carpet all over it, all put there very clearly, and slowly, slowly my landlord fixes this and that, all piecemeal and that’s how it is for the city as a whole.
What the music scene does, though, is it blankets and fills in the cracks of this place like something hot and liquid, liquid that solidifies though, and when Nolen Strals cusses out the dude at the Hexagon who hooted/hollered when somebody mentions D.C., you feel like you are down there in the foxhole with him fighting against the stuff that makes life hard and bad, joining together or some shit. And it fucking matters that this next lo-fi bedroom project is the dude from INEVERYROOM plus Adam Lempel (the only Johns Hopkins grad I personally know of to have notably broken into all this business), and it’s cool to see Dan Deacon at Carma’s Cafe and have him borrow your pen before High Zero so that he and Stewart Mostofsky can jot down some notes on the composition you’ll see him and a bunch of True Vine-y folks execute like an hour later.
It is edifying (and think how that word sort of means “to make into a building” or something) to see the rare private school kid smoking coolly a cigarette on a couch at Floristree during the Lower Dens’ set opening for Future Islands, and you don’t mind it even if his affectations and clothes and all that are totally obvious ‘cause maybe he’s like, mining out some space so that people can be normal-cool at his prep academy or not-quite-Ivy-league college. So the holes get filled up with this stuff, with Jason Willett recommending you some insane fucking record and seeing the kids from Needle Gun freak everybody out at 2640 and reading the sort of goofy, ever so slightly overwrought stuff Brett puts up on bmoremusic.net or enduring Dope Body destroying like the mid 40% of your ear hairs at a house show (their first show (for which you feel like a fucking champion, having been there (because it is about small victories (because the whole world of Baltimore music (and this is the beauty of it) is small enough that you can be a part of it, and it’s not Brooklyn and it’s not NYC and nobody who really gets it wishes for one second that it were)))). And this all turns Baltimore into something livable, even if just for a few years.